When you think of fruit wine, you normally think of grapes. But virtually any fruit can be used to make wine. For example, China has produced plum wine for centuries. You can use peaches, pears, raspberries or even watermelon. You’d be surprised at how delicious their wine can be. When you decide to start making your own, choose a fruit that is readily available to you. If you have cherry bushes or apple trees in your yard, you could use them as a source for your wine. The process is actually quite fun!
So Where Do You Start?
Your wine starts with over ripe fruit. Following is the amount of fruit needed for one gallon of homemade wine:
(Some of the most popular fruit wines are listed).
• Plums 4 pounds
• Cherries 4 pounds
• Apple Juice 1 gallon
• Peaches 3 pounds
• Strawberries 3 pounds
• Raspberries 3 pounds
This is simply a guide, because there really isn’t a correct amount to use. As you start creating your own brand, you’ll get a feel for the correct amount to use. The more fruit used, the more robust the wine becomes. For example, a burgundy contains more fruit than a blush.
Before starting your process, be sure you wash your fruit completely before crushing it. The quality of your homemade wine will be dramatically impacted by the quality of the fruit you use. It should not be bruised or moldy. Also, if the fruit isn’t ripe, your wine won’t have the fruit’s character that you are accustomed to.
Wine is made through a fermentation process. It is a process where yeast converts the sugar into half alcohol and half CO2 gas. Before you can start the fermentation process, acidity and sugar levels need to be tested.
Determining the initial sugar level is necessary and is accomplished using a hydrometer. The hydrometer will help determine how much alcohol your available sugar will make. You may need to add additional sugar. You can use cane sugar, brown sugar or even beet sugar in your process. Cheaper sugar works just as well as expensive, so go with what is on sale at the time. Your recipe may call for concentrated fruit juice in place of sugar, so as long as you follow your recipe you should have a batch of great tasting wine.
Acidity needs to be tested and adjusted also. Acid helps in the fermentation process. The simplest way to check acidity is with a ph test strip. If you want a tart wine, your acid level should be high. Less acid content equates to a blander wine. If the acid content needs to be increased, an acid blend can be purchased at your wine making supplier.
Once you have tested and adjusted the sugar and acidity levels in your crushed fruit, it is ready to ferment.
Depending on your recipe, you will need the following ingredients:
• Sugar: Amount will vary depending on the fruit used.
• Acid Blend: This is added before the yeast.
• Tannic acid: Most fruits lack tannins, so you will need to add them.
• Yeast: Use the type called for in your recipe.
• Yeast Energizer: It steps up the flavor and increases the alcohol volume.
• Yeast Nutrient: Use prior to the fermentation process.
• Pectic Enzyme: Should be used for all fruit wines.
You will also need a covered container to hold your wine mixture. In a few days you will need to remove the pulp from your mixture and siphon wine from the sediment throughout the process.
This has been a quick overview of the process used in making fruit wine There are many recipe resources available for your homemade fruit wine. Pick one, mix it up, and watch the fermentation process turn your fruit into the best tasting homemade wine ever. And above all, HAVE FUN!